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The Mike Toole Show - Ai Am Legend

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Joined: 05 Jul 2011
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Location: Colorful Colorado :)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:34 am Reply with quote
Just want to point out that Isabella isn't a drag queen at all; given her treatment in the story and especially her backstory, she's a trans girl all the way. I don't mean to start a fight or anything, but she's nice representation and suggesting that she's just a guy in drag is a little uncomfortable.

Anyway, as far as josei as good as Yazawa's (NANA's my favorite, edging just a little ahead of ParaKiss)...I would put some of Moyoco Anno and Kyoko Okazaki's work on the same level. I always considered NANA to be something of a "post-gal" manga anyway. Smile
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Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:52 pm Reply with quote
Nana would be one of my favourite anime if it wasn't for the thing with Takumi. Sadly, the thing in question drags the show down for me, not least because the point where it's finally picking itself back up from that is where it ends.

As to the final question: I stick to shorter stories normally, but I don't mind longer serials if they're a) character driven stories & b) I like the characters in question. However, sooner or later fatigue sets in with even the best story, not least because they almost invariably become less focused & stretching for reasons to keep the characters together as the story goes on. Even Nana was having that problem by the end of the anime, I think (& I don't want to think about the tedious, repetitive bore that Chihayafuru was).
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Joined: 28 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:16 pm Reply with quote
My favorite Josei work is the unliscensed but finished and fully scanlated masterpiece Ran and the Grey World Around Her. It's by the criminally unrecognized Irie Aki, and it is one of the best manga I have ever read. Irie Aki is one of the most talented artists I have seen in a long time, she (I believe her to be female) manages to truly make the Shoujo sparkle feel matical and adult.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:40 pm Reply with quote
It would be amazing if Funimation released Paradise Kiss in a S.A.V.E. edition.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Because Madhouse always written in large letters?
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Joined: 27 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:09 pm Reply with quote
Mike Toole wrote:
Man, I miss OVAs like this. Why don't they make one-shot shoujo OVAs, like this one and Handsome Girl and Cipher anymore?!

Coincidentally, I just watched Hiyokoi today, which came out a few years ago and is exactly that kind of one-shot (the 23-minute OVA, that is, not the one-minute specials). I liked it, too.

wonderwomanhero wrote:
It would be amazing if Funimation released Paradise Kiss in a S.A.V.E. edition.

They don't have the license anymore, though. It was one of the shows Funimation inherited from Geneon after the latter went bankrupt, and then declined to renew when the licenses expired in 2011 (Higurashi, Lyrical Nanoha, and Familiar of Zero were also among those ex-Geneon titles that Funi dropped at the same time). But Zero and Higurashi have both been rescue-licensed by Sentai since then, so maybe you can hold out some hope for PK getting picked up one day, too.
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Joined: 23 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:38 pm Reply with quote
Great write up on Ai Yazawa. NANA was like the shoujo equivalent to Beck when I intially saw it in high school. I was really into music back then and still am! Paradise Kiss, I also loved because the anime had the same director as Beck and I was really hooked. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to buy the DVDs when FUNi and Geneon released. So here's hoping that Sentai could get it, like they did with Higurashi! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:02 am Reply with quote
Paradise Kiss was probably my first more serious josei series I've read. It was great for 3 volumes. And Nana was really interesting at that time for not being set in a school. I'm out of the loop enough now that I'm not really seeing enough series really using an older setting.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:18 am Reply with quote
I really need to read Paradise Kiss now. I hadn't heard much hype for it before, but I think it was just a little ahead of my time back when it was more popular. I've heard great things about NANA, but refuse to get invested in something I know will likely never have an ending. I'm already too invested in the multiple CLAMP series with no endings...

As far as Josei go though, I really enjoyed Happy Marriage. The lead got annoying a lot, seeing as she was a full grown woman with the mind of a teenager first experiencing puberty, but overall I really enjoyed it and it got darker and deeper than I expected it to.
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Joined: 13 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:10 am Reply with quote
Also have to parrot rheiders on Isabella being trans; she was actually the first positive portrayal of a trans person I encountered in a piece of media, so I credit her with being part of the reason I became interested in trans issues and learning about gender identity. Before, my exposure to such issues were that trans people are a punchline or weird, so Isabella gave me a humanizing perspective I hadn't seen before.

Ahem. I am with Mr. Toole 100% of the way on Ai Yazawa being a standout josei writer. Paradise Kiss almost acts as a deconstruction of many shoujo romances (instead of George being a "Manic Pixie Dream Guy," he's portrayed as he actually is underneath the veneer of glamor, warts and all), with Yukari emerging as a heroine that needs to forge her own path and identity, independent of a romantic relationship's influence. I've always meant to check out Neighborhood Story, and would love to see it get licensed for print someday.

However, I consider Nana to be the true magnum opus of Yazawa's catalogue, and lament to this day the lack of an ending (especially after all the curveballs thrown at us!). Such a lovable cast, full of flawed, human characters, and a bevy of issues that speak to a lot of young women handled in a rather unglamorous manner. Funny that Beck was mentioned, as I've been slowly digesting the anime, and have often compared it to Nana. Both have an air of wistful nostalgia about them, with a sense of every joyous musical moment and friendship being finite, the encroaching specter of time and adult responsibilities waiting in the rafters.

I wonder if we'll ever see Nana receive an ending. Is Yazawa working on other series while leaving it unfinished, ala CLAMP, or is she actually "out of commission" save for the occasional doodle? Hopefully she recovers either way, but if she is unable to see the manga to completion, I hope she lets the readers know what the ending would've been via transcript/statement/etc. I'm hoping for the same from CLAMP for X, but I won't hold my breath. *sigh*

As for other good josei artists, I remember really liking Erica Sakurazuka a few years back. Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile, and Gunjo are some of my favorite josei manga. Moto Hagio gets endless thumbs up from me. She may edge out Yazawa for me, but just barely.
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*...Ame to Yuki...*

Joined: 02 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:35 pm Reply with quote
I can't tell you how happy I am that someone is still talking about the brilliance of Ai Yazawa. I certainly can't forget her characters no matter how hard I try.

It is also very difficult to find someone who thinks of her work more in terms of a josei rather than shoujo. No insult to shoujo, I love the demographic, but certainly the themes in such works as ParaKiss and Nana can be reduced down to just romance if we view them from a shoujo perspective.

The comment before me said it. Simply, you could get really annoyed at the choices the characters make in the stories if you didn't try to look for the underlying messages behind them. Among which is the fact that Yazawa's characters feel so real, you can't really see them make the 'right' choice. People do mistakes, and they don't realise it easily, they will give themselves all the reasons. People get confused, they get lonely, they go with the flow sometimes, and many times they can't change their minds easily. All this is present in Yazawa's characters, and most prominently in Nana, because it spans many volumes and stretches over a long time.

I came to a point in Nana where I realised that I shouldn't really wait to see the characters do what I want, I should just be a witness to what they do and understand the subtle presentation of the reasons given for why they do that. Some very big decisions are sometimes the product of the moment, or the combinations of very different things that people in the situation themselves may not even realise.

And then there are the small things, Yazawa draws Nana Osaki sometimes smoking Black Stones cigarettes (which Yasu smokes) and sometimes smoking Seven Stars cigarettes (which Ren smokes), when she smokes the former, it is usually when she feels a strong sense of independence, when she thinks about her band or longs for the security that Yasu gives her, ultimately it is also an insecurity regarding her unhealthy relationship with Ren. However, Yazawa doesn't give us an internal monologue of Nana where she explains all this to us, because people are never really over-analytical of their own thoughts. Often a third party is better suited to understand the bigger picture. We the viewers are the only real judges of the true nature of Nana and Ren's relationship, they are too caught up in the little things to realise the mess.

The same goes for the mess Hachi is in. Hachi and Reira are examples of two characters who know exactly how wrong they are acting but don't seem to have enough mind power to change themselves, and so they succumb to pathetic impassiveness. Only after years and a tragedy befalls them that they begin to take the reigns.

I got carried away Very Happy It was certainly a nice surprise to find someone talking about Yazawa-sensei, and was glad you mentioned Chihayafuru too which is a beautiful work of art. Personally, the only manga I've read that had the same exploration of themes that hits close to home, and whose characters are unforgettable as Yazawa's is Chica Umeno's Honey and Clover, a masterpiece.
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:19 pm Reply with quote
No, you didn't get carried away; I don't have to tell you that you write thoughtfully and well.
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